The original owner, Edward Costigan, was president of Corson and Gruman, an asphalt and paving company. Costigan also served on several boards, including those of Children’s Hospital, the Boys’ Club of Greater Washington, the National Bank of Washington and the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade.
Costigan designed the Colonial Revival house, but he hired Andrew Murray to build it in 1927. In 1938, he hired architect Joseph Himmelheber to design an addition.
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In lore passed down through the owners, it is said that Costigan brought back unusual castoffs from various jobs throughout the city. The wrought-iron gate and the fence that surround the house were purportedly taken from the White House after Costigan’s firm replaced the fence there. The Civil War-era cannon on the lawn is also said to have come from the White House grounds.
When his firm paved over the trolley lines that ran in front of the U.S. Senate office buildings, one of the old trolley stations is supposed to have been brought back to Costigan’s rear gardens.
Costigan died in 1964. His widow sold the house in 1976 to former U.S. senator Joseph Tydings (D-Md.). Tydings’s wife at the time, Terry, had been Miss U.S.A. and second runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant in 1959.
After they divorced, Terry Tydings sold the house in 1992 to Samuel H. Gillespie III and his wife, Erica. Gillespie was general counsel for several oil and gas companies, including Mobil. He helped broker Mobil’s merger with Exxon in 1998.
The Gillespies hired Georgetown architect George Stavropoulos to expand the house in 2000, adding a wing on either side. Vermont granite was used to match the house’s original exterior.
The kitchen, which was part of the addition, has a stone wall from the original exterior. It also has limestone countertops and a limestone floor. The sunlight-filled galleria at the back of the house was also part of the expansion, as was the great room. The house has a mahogany-paneled library, a home theater and a wine cellar. A roof terrace overlooks parkland.
The five-bedroom, eight-bathroom, 12,650-square-foot house is on just over one acre that backs onto Rock Creek Park. The grounds have a swimming pool and tennis court. The property is listed at $11.8 million.
Listing: 5320 27th St. NW, Washington
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